January 2018
Howle's Hints

No Fear for the New Year

"Cowards die many times before their deaths;
the valiant never taste of death but once." 
~ William Shakespeare, "Julius Caesar"

This quote by Shakespeare means that the brave face the challenges of life and sometimes difficult and dangerous situations by standing up for what they believe in. It can literally mean in warfare or battle, but it can also mean facing daily challenges. In contrast, when the quote states cowards die many times before their deaths, this is more of a metaphor meaning running away when faced with an obstacle. In summary, the regret a coward would face each day for backing down is worse than the fear of being killed in battle.

As we enter into a new year, it is wise to equip ourselves with tools that allow us to face challenges valiantly instead of with fear. Here are a few verses to speak out loud when dealing with fear. "When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared." (Proverbs 3:24-26, NIV) "The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do unto me?" (Psalm 118:6, ESV) Here’s my favorite, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7, KJB)

Remember, fear is a master spirit. It can even paralyze people emotionally and/or physically. Now that terrorist attacks are becoming more frequent around the globe, we see all types of reactions to fear. Sometimes we see people cower, even while the gunman calmly swaps out clips. However, in some instances, we have seen extreme courage in these attacks.

In 2015, you might remember the three friends from the United States who traveled in Europe and stopped a terrorist from opening fire on passengers on a train headed to Paris. The three men, along with a French citizen and a Briton, charged the terrorist. They tackled and subdued him.

The Briton stated, "My thought was, ‘OK, I’m probably going to die, anyway; so let’s go.’ I’d rather die being active, trying to get him down, than simply sit in the corner and be shot."

Even though this example is an extreme case, fear can be a motivating factor or a liability. Anyone who has lived or worked on a farm and hears the words "Look out!" knows to duck, run or dodge quickly. However, if fear manifests itself in worry and lack of action, it can prevent us from making sound business decisions for the farm. The best way to counteract fear is with faith.

When you buy a group of heifers to expand your herd, have faith they will breed and have calves. When you plan out the construction of a barn, have faith it will be built to fit the image in your mind of the final product. When you plant seeds, have faith the plants will bear fruit and won’t be stopped by drought or flooding rains.



Farm-raised greens and corn, and grass-fed beef.


Farm Fresh Living

People who grow up or live on farms have always known the food they produce is the healthiest and safest in the world. Many of our city-folk counterparts have come back to what we’ve known all along, whether it is purchasing fresh vegetables, grass-fed beef or fresh milk products from the farm. It’s a satisfying feeling to pull a glass jar of canned vegetables from the pantry and farm-raised beef from the freezer during the cold, unproductive month of January.

I recently prepared a meal with food taken entirely from our family farm. I pulled quart jars of green beans and corn, and two packs of grass-fed beef. The gravy used to top the hamburger steak was the only thing that wasn’t farm raised.


Make Some Gravy

Once the hamburger steak has been cooked in a black iron skillet, remove the meat and leave the browned remains. In an 8-ounce cup, mix warm water with about 2 tablespoons of self-rising flour. Stir until the flour is dissolved. Finish filling the cup with milk. Slowly pour this mixture into the skillet, adding salt, pepper and a small amount of ground red pepper. Mix until the gravy reaches a moderately thick consistency. Pour this over the hamburger steaks. Wash it down with a glass of sweet tea … because you grew up in the South.


Keep a sharpened chain saw in your truck during January for clearing away fallen trees and limbs.




Meet the Challenge With a Chain Saw

During January, you may simply be driving and see a tree fallen across the road. Many times you might find an ice-laden limb broken off and it has torn down the fence. Keeping a sharpened chain saw handy is essential this time of year. Make sure you keep the saw full of gas/oil mix, and the bar and chain oil full. Finally, take a few minutes to keep the teeth of the chain sharp and ready to cut.


This January, approach the New Year with courage as you face the challenges of 2018. Boldly make your decisions and put your plans into action with faith.


John Howle is a freelance writer from Heflin.